The Galion City Schools Board of Education was met with some important issues at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
The first of those issues to be covered concerned the aging heating and cooling system across the district. The current situation on this was presented to the board by Building, Grounds, and Transportation Director Brian Owens.
“This is more of an awareness issue at this time,” Owens started out by saying. “We have a major concern to address at the high school building.”
Owens then went on to explain how some training that he had requested in regards to the computer interface that controls the air handlers and coolers at the high school, soon turned into a “snowball effect” in finding other issues with the HVAC system throughout the district with the biggest issue currently existing at the high school.
“Everything that is installed in all four buildings is proprietary equipment,” Owens said. “Every thermostat that you see on the walls is proprietary equipment and it cannot be replaced because the company that installed it 17 years ago when our buildings were built is no longer in business.
“We had Gardiner come in and do some training and education into what we have going on currently, and that turned into a look ahead. Our thermostats are broken, and we cannot replace them, and the cafetorium in the high school consistently reads about 233 degrees, so that our air conditioning is consistently pumping and throwing money out the window.”
Owens then went on to note other existing issues with the main one being only one City of Galion meter existing for the tracking of usage of all four buildings.
“This makes it impossible for us to see if there is a higher usage issue at one building as opposed to another,” said Owens. “That’s why Charlene (Parkinson, treasurer) and I feel it’s best to start at the high school with this issue for now because it seems to be the building with the biggest usage and problem area that we can see at this point. The high school would be a test bed to see if we see the benefit in moving forward with the whole district.”
Board President Grant Garverick then asked Owens what the cost would be to get the project started just at the high school alone, to which Owens responded with a figure of approximately $150,000.
“This would cover the mid-range equipment that needs to be retrofitted across the high school, and allow us to see if this is going to be a good fit for us across the district,” explained Owens. “It will alert us to issues in the system we are unable to see now, and tell us where they exist. It will allow us to manage our heating and cooling more systematically, which should, in turn, give us more control and ultimately the cost savings that Gardiner says their system should give us in the long run. If that proves to be true, we can take the next step from there. It really would be a multi-step process.”
With that said, Garverick asked Parkinson if the $150,000 for the project was available. Parkinson explained that it was and continued on with her answer and concerns.
“I think we have to start somewhere with this,” Parkinson stated. “I would hope that we start to see a reduction in kilowatt hours.”
Board members also went on to discuss the current rate the district is being charged for electricity by the City of Galion, and whether or not that is something that is locked in for a period of time. There was no clear answer available.
At that point, board members and Owens agreed to get a quote for services from Gardiner, Inc. and possibly have them present at an upcoming board meeting in greater detail about their services and plans for GHS and the district as a whole.
Contact Erin Miller at 419-512-2662.